World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series (link)
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If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series.

Strange Weapons

Strange World War II Weapons from Nazi Germany, the United States, etc.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

The Tallboy and Grand Slam Earthquake Bombs: More of Barnes Wallis’ Crazy Inventions
When it came to destroying reinforced constructs, normal WWII bombs were much less affective. Their thin skins offered little penetrating power, and most of the blast would dissipate outwards away from the target. This was especially problematic against German bunkers, which were renowned for their incredible durability and levels of protection. Some of these, like the submarine pens at Saint-Nazaire, were protected by an 8 meter thick steel reinforced concrete roof. Another complex in France named La Coupole was covered by a 55,000 ton concrete dome 5 meters thick.

Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)

What was the purpose of German Kugelpanzer, a round ball shaped tank
Kugelpanzer, or “ball tank”,lacks official records, but we know at least one prototype existed and was captured by the Russian Army in 1945. The Kugelpanzer can now be seen at the Kubinka Tank Museum outside Moscow. What on Earth was this vehicle intended to do? there are some precedents that were actually constructed, including the German World War I Treffas Wagen.

Project Habbakuk: Britain's secret attempt to build an ice warship
The depths of Lake Patricia in Canada still hide a secret that was once poised to change the course of World War II. To gain the upper hand against the German U-boats, the British had come up with a strange idea: make aircraft carriers out of giant icebergs. They were, after all, abundant, free and believed to be unsinkable. Crazy as it sounded, the project was approved by British prime minister Winston Churchill himself. A prototype was built and tested at the lake over four months -- and parts of it remain there, 50 feet below the surface. The ice has long melted, but Project Habbakuk still lives.

Hitler's death star: How the Nazis planned to send killer satellites into orbit to fry their enemies from space
The Nazis had planned to built a giant one-mile wide 'sun gun' to burn enemy cities to ashes during the Second World War. Scientists tried to create the huge satellite which acted as a large mirror that would have used the sun's rays to scorch the earth's surface. Technical experts from the US Army made the fascinating discovery which highlighted the Nazi's shocking plans. If successful, the unique creation would share similarities with the infamous Death Star, the spherical battle station constructed by the Galactic Empire in Star Wars.

Nazi WWII Plan to Attack US With Sub Missiles
In the closing weeks of WWII in Europe, American intelligence determined that a detachment of German submarines had been dispatched to launch a cruise missile attack on the East Coast of the US. The U.S. Navy deployed 46 ships and dozens of aircraft to annihilate the incoming submarine wolf pack. The battle that followed saw hundreds of lives lost at sea, and showed American intelligence services at their very best—and worst. Nazi Germany was the first nation to deploy cruise and ballistic missiles in combat. The V1 `Buzz Bomb` could fly more than 180 miles powered by a pulse jet before slamming into its target. The longer-range V-2 could shoot up to fifty-five miles high in its ballistic trajectory. The possibility that the so-called `vengeance weapons` might be mounted on submarines and used to sow chaos along the eastern seaboard of the US did not escape Allied commanders.

Nazi Germany's V-3 Super Gun: The Ultimate Terror Weapon?
Nazi Germany famously used V-1 cruise missile and V-2 ballistic missile `Vengeance Weapons` to bomb London in retaliation for the Allies` strategic bombing campaign of Germany. However, a third Vengeance weapon—the V-3 super cannon—was also developed and even briefly used in action, though not against its intended target. The concept behind the V-3 had its origin in the German Kaiser Wilhelm guns that entered action in March 1918, during World War I. The massive Krupp guns could shell the French capital from seventy-five miles away, and were the first weapons capable of shooting a projectile into the stratosphere.

Germany's Secret World War II Plan to Attack America with Submarine Missiles
In the closing weeks of World War II in Europe, American intelligence determined that a detachment of German submarines had been dispatched to launch a cruise missile attack on the East Coast of the United States. The U.S. Navy deployed forty-six ships and dozens of aircraft to annihilate the incoming submarine wolf pack. The battle that followed saw hundreds of lives lost at sea, and showed American intelligence services at their very best—and worst.

The Nazi Aircraft Fueled by Coal
While World War II raged on, oil began to run low and more unconventional means of fuel were needed to replace them. The Nazis then came up with the P13a, a plane which would be powered by coal. Originally a wire mesh basket filled with coal was going to be attached behind the nose air intake, where it would then be ignited by a gas burner. The P13a was a top secret plane; it was a ramjet-powered delta wing interceptor that was designed by Dr. Alexander Lippisch for the Nazis. The aircraft was supposedly never finished, but it was tested in wind tunnels and showed readings that it would perform perfect in Mach 3 speeds.

The Vought V-173 (Flying Pancake) was an experimental aircraft tested by the Navy in 1942
The V-173 was one-of-a-kind experimental test aircraft built as part of the Vought XF5U `Flying Flapjack` World War II United States Navy fighter aircraft program. It was created when the Navy and NACA approved Chance Vaught`s manufacture of a small scale model for wind tunnel testing.

This is one of the most bizarre World War II photos of a Nazi submarine we've seen
In the below 1944 photo, colorized by Marina Amaral, US Army troops examine a one-man submarine that washed up on the Anzio beachhead in Italy. According to The National World War II Museum, the submarine was converted from a torpedo, with the warhead chamber replaced with a cockpit. US troops captured the 17-year-old Nazi pilot when the beached unterseeboot, or U-boat, was found in April 1944.

Remote-Controlled Tanks of the 1930s Were Supposed to Save Lives on Both Sides
There are countless visions of radio-controlled tanks, unmanned aerial vehicles, and even gigantic robot fighters from the early 20th century. But the thing that might be most shocking to readers here in the early 21st century is that these empty vehicles were all supposed to be fighting amongst themselves. When World War II would rear its ugly head, robot tanks would indeed become a reality. But unfortunately they were the exclusive domain of the Nazis. The Germans designed two different remote-controlled tanks that carried explosives: The Borgward IV and the Goliath.

The strange tanks that helped win D-Day
When allied forces landed on the Normandy beaches on D-Day, they did so alongside a fleet of bizarre tanks with special roles – brought into life by an eccentric British commander. The tanks were known, collectively, as Hobart`s `Funnies`. On the British and Canadian beaches where they were used – Gold, Sword and Juno – the landings were a massive success. Percy Hobart had realised that an invading force would need a lot more tank support – and they were most vulnerable when they were coming to shore. `If you put all your tanks in one landing craft, and that gets hit – how do you spread the risk?` The result was the Sherman DD (Duplex Drive) – the `swimming tank`.

The Nazis nearly completed a super-cannon capable of hitting London from France
Today we`ll be looking at the V-3 cannon: a piece of artillery capable of hitting a target more than 100 miles (165 km) away, shooting its projectiles at around 3,400 mph (5500 km/h)! Technically defined as a `supergun`, a term given to guns of such comically large size they need to be categorised separately, the V-3 was 430 feet long (131 metres). This massive size meant that the gun had to be built already aiming at its target and could only reliably hit a target the size of a city, a fairly minor trade-off considering the weapon`s nigh-unparalleled range for a non-rocket based weapon.

American World War II plot to bomb Japan with bats
Imagine: a quiet, tense night in the middle of wartime. A plane rips through the air above your city, rupturing the stillness. The bay doors open, and out whistles a bomb. It drops and drops. Everyone braces. But when it explodes, the city is filled not with the flash of impact, but with hundreds and hundreds of tiny, whirling bats. This ridiculous vision—in which Japanese cities were destroyed by a giant bomb full of bats that were themselves carrying tinier bombs—was called Project X-Ray, and it was but a claw's breadth from becoming a reality.

The 5 most bizarre weapons of World War II
(1) A ship-mounted aerial mine rocket launcher. The unrotated-projectile rocket launcher was an especially ill-conceived antiaircraft measure. Created to protect ships from enemy planes, the unrotated projectile was fired from a ship, and, upon reaching 1,000 feet in elevation, it would explode and disperse mines attached to parachutes via 400 feet of cable. The general idea was to create an aerial minefield. (4) V-3 cannon. The unnecessary younger sibling of the V-1 and V-2 rockets that pulverized London during the Blitzkrieg.

10 bizarre war machines from the second world war
(1) Ice Aircraft Carriers `Bergships`. Project Habakkuk was a British plan by Geoffrey Pyke to build aircraft carriers out of pykrete, a mixture of wood pulp and ice. The carriers, nicknamed `bergships` were to operate as landing platforms for aircraft in the war against the German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic. ---- (2) Goliath tracked mine. The Goliath tracked mine `beetle tank` was a remote controlled demolition vehicle used by the Germans in world war two. ---- (3) Bat Bombs. The Bat bomb was an experimental weapon developed in the United States. The bomb was a shell shaped container that held scores of Mexican Free-tailed bats. The bats were attached to small timed incendiary bombs and released from a bomber at dawn.

Charles Carpenter attached 3 bazooka rocket launchers to observation plane to known out Tiger tanks
In 1944, Charles Carpenter was a Major attached to the 1st Bombardment Division in which he flew an unarmed L-4 "Grasshopper" and L-5 "Sentinel" observation plane performing recon missions and acting as an airborne artillery observer. Not being the kinda guy to overlook a juicy enemy target, even in an unarmed and slow as hell kite with propeller, he had 3 bazooka rocket launchers fitted to each wing. Now having a bit of offensive capability, the "Mad Major" started to strafe enemy armor whenever he encountered it. By war's end he would be officially credited with destroying several armored cars and 6 tanks with 2 being Tiger Is!

The Incredible Flying Tanks of World War II
Given how effective both newly-invented tank and airplane technologies proved during World War II, it was only a matter of time before military designers on both sides of the Atlantic thought to combine them. And they almost succeeded. Well, at least the Soviets did. In the 1930s, both the Americans and the Soviets realized the tactical advantages of being able to drop an armored division behind enemy lines where it could wreak havok on the enemy's soft spots like supply lines and command posts. In America, tank developer Walter Christie designed a self propelled flying tank that employed a pair of biplane wings and rudder with a propeller driven by the tank's engine.

Nazi project to infest mosquitos with malaria and drop them on allied territory
Evidence for the secret World War II biological weapons research program has been uncovered by Tubingen University researcher Dr Klaus Reinhardt. While studying documents from the notorious Waffen SS, Dr Reinhardt discovered several suggesting they had been operating a covert biological weapons testing program. The objective: To find ways to infest the enemy with malaria-carrying mosquitos. The problem: Which breed of mosquito was up to the task. Reinhardt`s noticed documents relating to the formation of a Waffen SS Entomological Institute at the Dachau concentration camp.

Highly addictive Crystal Meth kept German pilots and soldiers alert during World War II
The Wehrmacht distributed millions of Pervitin tablets to soldiers, who soon dubbed the stimulant "Panzerschokolade" ("tank chocolate"). "Alertness aid" read the packaging, to be taken "to maintain wakefulness." But "only from time to time," it warned. This particular young soldier, though, needed more of the drug, much more. He was exhausted by the war. In letters sent home, he asked his family to send more. He found just one pill was as effective for staying alert as liters of strong coffee. And when he took the drug, all his worries seemed to disappear. This 22-year-old was not just any soldier - he was Heinrich Böll, who would go on to become one of Germany's leading postwar writers and win a Nobel Prize in 1972. And the drug he asked for is now illegal - and we now know it as crystal meth.

The incredible Nazi plans for a mile-wide sun gun to fry cities from space
It sounds like something only a James Bond villain would propose, but the Nazis planned a mile-wide space gun powered by the sun. A long-forgotten article from Life magazine in 1945 revealed how "US Army technical experts came up with the astonishing fact that German scientists had seriously planned to build a sun gun". The idea came to renowned rocket scientist Hermann Oberth in 1923. With a cost of three million marks and taking 15 years to construct, the original purpose of the space mirror was to provide the people of Earth with sunshine on demand, anywhere on the globe. But Oberth later described it as the ‘ultimate weapon`.

New Zealand planned to develop tsunami bomb during World War II
A new book has revealed historical gems buried in New Zealand's national archives, including a strange WWII plan to create a "tsunami bomb". Author Ray Waru said he wrote "Secrets and Treasures" to highlight the material available at Archives New Zealand in Wellington. "Project Seal" was launched in June 1944 after a US naval officer noticed that blasting operations to clear coral reefs sometimes produced a large wave, raising the possibility of creating a "tsunami bomb". Explosive tests carried out in waters north of Auckland led scientists to conclude that the weapon was feasible and a series of 10 massive blasts offshore could create a 10-metre tsunami capable of inundating a small coastal city.

How Britain`s failed attempt to develop a death ray changed the course of World War II
In the early 1930s, Great Britain found itself in a rather precarious position. Military theorists were predicting that the next war would be dominated by air power, and the ominous threat of aerial bombardment. To address the problem, Britain launched a number of projects in hopes of mitigating the threat — including an effort to develop a high-tech "death ray" that could shoot enemy planes out of the sky. But even though the project failed to develop such a weapon, it did result in something potentially far more useful - a technological breakthrough that would prove to play an integral role in the British victory over the Nazis during the Battle of Britain.

UFO at bottom of Baltic sea may be a top-secret Nazi anti-submarine defence
Divers exploring a UFO-shaped object in the Baltic sea say that the strange object might be a Nazi device lost beneath the waves. Sonar scans have shown that the device, raised 10ft above the seabed and measuring 200ft by 25ft, could be the base of an anti-submarine weapon built with wire mesh which could have baffled submarine radar, leading enemy craft to crash. Former Swedish naval officer and WWII expert Anders Autellus says that the structure could be the base of a device designed to block British and Russian submarine movements. It would have been built of double-skinned concrete and reinforced with wire mesh to baffle radar - which could explain why the dive team's equipment repeatedly failed near the mystery object.

Department MD1: Winston Churchill`s Toyshop: Secret WWII Weapons and Gadgets
Did you know that Winston Churchill had a special chamber designed for air travel? It was a giant metal cocoon on his personal plane, complete with ventilation systems, inside which the great man would kick back and puff on his cigars. However, the pressure chamber pales in comparison to the products that flowed from his "toyshop", a secret division of the Ministry of Defence dedicated to WWII weapon research and development. Department MD1 was nicknamed `Churchill`s Toyshop` because they reported directly to the PM. MD1 were responsible for inventing a swathe of unusual bombs and weaponry, including the PIAT (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank), the first magnetic Limpet naval mines, and the Sticky Bomb.

Allies planned to add female hormones into the fuhrer`s food to turn him into a woman
A new book called "Secret Weapons: Technology, Science And The Race To Win World War II" by Professor Brian Ford reveals strange Allied plans to win the Second World War. Allies thought that by smuggling female sex hormones into the fuhrer's food they could turn him into a woman and curb his aggressive impulses. The plot was just one of a number of schemes: Others included dropping glue on Nazi troops to stick them to the ground, as well as creating bombs made to look like everyday tins of fruit and chocolate. The plots have come to light because of the publication of new documents not previously seen because of their sensitive nature.

Project Habakkuk: Allied plan to build aircraft carriers out of ice and wood pulp   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Project Habakkuk was an incredible plan by the Allies in World War II to build an aircraft carrier out of Pykrete (which consists of ice and wood pulp).

It is nice to see a longer article about this topic, since it is usually only briefly mentioned along the other strange WWII-era weapons and inventions. On the other hand, pretty much everything mentioned in the article is available on Wikipedia.

Interestingly, two modern attempts to test Pykrete constructions have resulted in somewhat conflicting data. Mythbusters successfully managed to pilot their Pykrete boat at decent speeds, while the Pykrete boat tested in the "Bang Goes The Theory" series disintegrated in the harbor within an hour.


Sack AS-6 : Disc-shaped aircraft may be behind some of Nazi UFO stories
Disc-shaped WWII-era aircraft Sack AS-6, designed by Arthur Sack, may be behind some of Nazi UFO reports.

Nazis planned to build space mirror to create death ray
After the Second World War U.S. Army technical experts learned that German scientists had seriously planned to build a "sun gun," a big mirror in space which would focus the sun's rays to a scorching point at the earth's surface to destroy enemy cities.

10 strange WWII weapons: Me109 fighters without weapons, V3 cannon, BA349 fighter didn't need runways
(10) X-Class Midget Submarines were 15.55 metres (51ft) long with a crew of 4. --- (9) V-3 cannon was supergun using multi-charges to increase velocity. --- (8) Sonderkommando ELBE consisted of Me-109s, stripped of weapons and armor to increase their speed, designed to use their propellers to destroy the bomber's tail. --- (7) Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) was rocket powered kamikaze attack plane. --- (6) Anti-tank dogs. (5) --- Bachem BA349 was rocket-powered vertical takeoff interceptor aircraft. --- (4) Bat Bombs. --- (3) Pigeon Guided Missile. --- (2) Project Habakkuk aimed to build aicraft carriers from ice. --- (1) Silbervogel (Silver Bird) Bomber was a rocket-powered sub-orbital bomber.

10 strange military experiments - Including: seeing infrared, injecting Plutonium shots   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The U.S. Navy wanted to improve WWII sailors' night vision. Vitamin A contained part of a light-sensitive molecule in the eye's receptors, so scientists fed volunteers supplements extending their vision into the infrared region. The success had no use because a device to see infrared was developed. Japan fed its pilots a preparation that increased vitamin A absorption, improving their night vision by 100% in some cases. --- American scientists, building atomic bombs, wanted to know more about the dangers of plutonium. Testing began on April 10, 1945 with the injection of plutonium into the victim of a car accident in Oak Ridge.

Strange (and worst) WWII weapons: Pigeon-Guided Missiles, Flying Jeep, Ice Ships   (Article no longer available from the original source)
(1) American B.F. Skinner thought up the idea for "Project Orcon" - the pigeon-guided missile. The control system had a lens attached to the missile which projected an image of the target to a screen, which was pecked by trained pigeons, determining where the missile hit. (2) In 1940 the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment in UK began on attaching rotor blades to a jeep (Rotabuggy). The project became outdated with the Horsa II and Hamilcar gliders. (5) In 1942, the allies were suffering heavy losses of merchant ships to U-boats. Lord Louis Mountbatten suggested building ice ships.

Tiny poison dart bombs developed by British scientists during World War II
Britain and Canada developed poison darts, to be dropped in cluster bomb style weapons, during WW2. The scientists asked Singer Sewing Machine Company to provide needles to equip the darts, to be laced with a poison that could cause death "within 30 seconds". Military planners thought mass use (500lb cluster projectile containing 30,000 units) of the 4gram darts could be more effective against troops on open ground or in trenches than bombs. In 1942 bacteriologist Paul Fildes wrote to Singer requesting sewing machine needle samples: "[it is] a little difficult to explain what I want sewing machine needles for... [but] the knife-shaped point is definitely essential."

Weird Weapons: The Axis -- WWII documentary
1939-1945 the world was locked in a fierce military struggle. When the smoke of World War Two cleared, off-the-wall stories of extraordinary armaments began to emerge. This WWII documentary reveals far fetched weaponry dreamed up by Allied and Axis scientists. From a battleship made of ice, to a fleet of pigeon-guided missiles, film examines the weird weapons of World War II. In an even stranger attempt at animal-based warfare, the "bat bomb" (to be released over Japanese industrial targets) - a project endorsed by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt – was orchestrated by an American dentist.

Flying Jeep - Rotabuggy by Raoul Hafner
The work of the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment at Ringway on the Rotachute from 1940 onwards led to the suggestion that the free-wheeling autogyro principles could also be applied to larger loads. Raoul Hafner suggested the Rotabuggy, a Jeep ("Blitz Buggy") with rotors, and the Rotatank (modified Valentine tank). Preliminary tests involved loading a Jeep with concrete and dropping it from 7 ft., proving that the vehicle could survive intact from impacts of up to 11g. The Rotabuggy, camouflaged, carrying RAF roundels and a prototype "P", was tow tested and reached gliding speeds of up to 65 mph.

9 insane weapons of war, many developed during World War II
Bat bombs were tiny incendiary bombs bound to bats, developed by the U.S. with the hope of attacking Japan. The bats would disperse, then at dawn they would hide in buildings and timers would ignite the bombs. The bat bomb idea, by Lytle S. Adams, was approved by Roosevelt. --- "Who Me?" was a top secret sulfurous stench weapon by the American OSS to be used by the French Resistance. It was meant to be sprayed on a German officer, humiliating him. --- Soviet Anti-tank dogs were hungry dogs with explosives tied to their backs and trained to seek food under battle tanks. By doing so, a detonator would go off, triggering the explosives and damaging the military vehicle.

A huge Nazi gun filled 16 rail cars   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Ed Smith and his buddies weren’t the ones who stopped a huge Nazi railway gun that could have wiped out London, but they recognized history when they saw it. Soldiers in the Army’s "C" Battery, 182nd Field Artillery Battalion, came upon the behemoth — so large it filled 16 rail cars — in Northern France, after an Allied air attack had stopped it in its tracks. If it had been installed as planned on the French seacoast and aimed at England, its 50-mile range could have destroyed that city.

Mines in the sky and other wartime oddities - A Summer Bright And Terrible   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Hitler's Luftwaffe was supposed to reduce Britain to rubble that summer. Everyone knew it could. The German bombers were too fast, too high and too strong for the English fighters' puny machine guns. But by 1940, Air Marshall Hugh Dowding could see them coming, thanks to radar. During the Battle of Britain, Dowding began having encounters with the ghosts of the pilots he lost. Eventually, he went the whole psychic route, worked with a medium, made contact with pilots who had passed beyond and passed along their messages to their widows. The science adviser Lindemann got the idea of seeding the sky with aerial mines on parachutes in front of the German bomber formations.

Improbable but true - Allied top secret project to build ice ships
In 1942 the Allies were developing plans for the re-occupation of Europe, and Winston Churchill favoured large floating platforms to support the landings. In addition the allies had heavy merchant shipping losses from German U-boats, due to "mid Atlantic Air Gap." Churchill welcomed the idea of building large ships made of ice as presented to him by Lord Louis Mountbatten - Chief of Combined Operations, which developed equipment for offensive operations. One of his advisers presented the idea of constructing "berg-ships", up to 4,000 feet long, that could be made from ice. The ships would be insulated and cooled, made practically immune to bombs or torpedoes.

Project Habakkuk - Building an aircraft carrier out of Ice
Project Habakkuk was a WWII plan to build an aircraft carrier out of Pykrete (wood pulp and ice), for use against Nazi U-boats in the mid-Atlantic. Geoffrey Pyke conceived the idea while organizing the production of M29 Weasels for Project Plough. Steel and aluminium were in short supply, and he realized that the answer was ice, which could be manufactured for only 1% of the energy needed to make the same mass of steel and suggested that an iceberg be levelled to provide a runway and hollowed out to shelter aircraft. Naval architects had created 3 versions of Pyke's original idea, which were discussed at a meeting with the Chiefs of Staff in August 1943...